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http://www.worldwidewords.org/index.htm

World Wide Words, created by Michael Quinion, is a wonderful site that investigates words from around the world. Quinion describes his website as:

World Wide Words tries to record at least some part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, the background to words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

This site is an excellent educational resource for word study in the classroom. Of particular interest are “Topical Words” which explain words in vogue that are found online or in newspapers. You might for example, have students choose a topical word, read the corresponding article and then verbally explain how the word has evolved. This can be done in partners and then a few can be shared with the class. Another idea is to have students choose a word and compare it to one of its synonyms. Discussing shades of meaning helps build students’ inferential skills.

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